ML Update 48
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Inaction in the name of ‘ATR’ will not do –
Punish the Perpetrators of the Babri Masjid Demolition
17 years after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the Liberhan Commission’s findings are finally in the public domain and have been tabled in Parliament.
The report itself holds no surprises: debunking the BJP’s claims that the demolition was a spontaneous act by kar sevaks, it establishes instead that the act was elaborately pre-planned, and indicts top Sangh and BJP leaders for conceiving and executing the plan. Vajpayee, Advani, Joshi, Thackeray and other leaders of the saffron brigade are indicted for having fanned communal flames in the country. The report highlights the role of Kalyan Singh, the then CM of UP, in facilitating the demolition. It also names several members of the district and state administration who facilitated the demolition and were rewarded for it later.
Coming at the end of 17 long years and no less than 48 extensions, however, the report is noticeably lacking in sharpness and urgency. Most significantly, the report stops short of recommending any specific action against the perpetrators of the demolition (confining its recommendations to vague prescriptions of a general nature, such as ‘religion and politics should be separate’), and absolves the Narasimha Rao government at the Centre of failure to prevent the demolition, on the flimsy and unconvincing ground that the Centre could not act without a recommendation from the UP Governor.
The report’s credibility is further undermined by the UPA Government’s response and the manner in which it came into the public domain. Justice Liberhan’s report was submitted to the UPA Government on June 30 2009. At that juncture, the Home Ministry, in spite of the popular demand that the report be made public without further delay, refused to table it in Parliament, claiming that it was “studying” the report in order to take action and would subsequently present the report along with an Action Taken Report. Instead, the Report eventually became public through a ‘leak’ to the media, carefully timed to precede elections in Jharkhand.
The BJP has tried to use the occasion to close ranks and try and check the disarray in its leadership. It has also questioned the Report’s indictment of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was not physically present at the demolition site. Such arguments carry little weight. The demolition was a carefully crafted political act for which the entire political leadership of the BJP and RSS including Vajpayee undoubtedly bear the responsibility.
However, if history will hold the saffron leadership responsible for the fascist act of demolition of the Babri Masjid and the communal trail of blood that preceded and followed it, history will also not forgive the Congress Government at the Centre for its culpability – through criminal inaction – for the demolition.
Even today, the UPA Government is playing politics with the Liberhan Report, showing scant concern for or commitment to secularism and justice. Its ‘Action Taken Report’ is shamefully lacking in any action taken or even intended to be taken against the culprits of the demolition. In other words, the ‘action taken’ by the Manmohan Singh Government against the perpetrators of the demolition is exactly of the same character as the ‘action taken’ by the Rao government to prevent the demolition – in both cases, the Congress confined its role to some public hand-wringing and lip service, while choosing to take no action against the communal fascists. Interestingly, some of the communal leaders indicted by the Liberhan Report – such as Shankersingh Vaghela – have now switched sides and found a place in the Congress. Another Sangh product and former BJP leader, Babulal Marandi is now a coveted ‘secular’ ally of the Congress in Jharkhand.
Exonerating and emboldening the communal fascists is of course nothing new for the Congress: even way back in 1963, the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru invited the RSS (in spite of the taint of its linkages with Gandhi’s murder) to participate in the Republic Day Parade.
The Liberhan episode once again highlights the Congress’ characteristic complicity and collusion with communal forces and trivialization of the entire agenda of secularism and justice. The Liberhan Report establishes what is a self-evident truth, recognized by the people of India: that the BJP and Sangh leadership perpetrated the demolition of the Babri Masjid. After such an indictment, impunity for the culprits of the demolition is shameful and unacceptable. As we approach 6 December this year, the anniversary of the infamous demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, secular and democratic forces all over the country must demand real action against the culprits in the light of the findings of the Liberhan Report.
Response to the CPI(ML)’s Bihar Bundh Call of 24th November
The bundh called by the Party on 24th November (when the NDA Govt. completed its four years in Bihar) against the four years of betrayal by the Nitish Government on all fronts - be it the failure to implement of the recommendations of the Land Reforms Commission as well as the Common School Commission; failure in providing relief, ration and employment to the poor under assault from severe inflation; failure in providing dignity and security to the dalits, women and poor; and failure in curbing loot and corruption in NREGA, ration and other schemes; or industrial and agricultural development, received a massive support from the people of Bihar.
During the bundh surface transport including rail traffic was completely shut-down and more than ten thousand people across the State were arrested. Thousands of bundh supporters all over the State carrying red flags and banners sat on dharna on roads/highways and railway tracks since morning thus blocking the traffic for hours. Also, due to extensive propaganda of the bundh many vehicle owners stayed off the roads. Many district headquarters and market places in several towns wore deserted look.
At Arrah hundreds of bundh supporters led by veteran communist leader Ram Naresh Ram sat on dharna near the main bus terminal thus completely blocking NH-30. Similar dharna and blockades were also reported from Dinara, Kochas and Maliyabag in Rohtas dist. Thousands of bundh supporters blockaded the GT road at Mohania, Dehri-on-Sone and Aurangabad completely paralysing this arterial highway.
At Jahanabad about two thousand people led by State Committee members (SCMs) Ramadhar Singh, Pradip Kumar and Mithilesh Yadav completely blockaded the Gaya-Patna railway track. Unions of rickshaw pullers and horse-carts (tumtums) supported the bundh, so there was hardly any traffic in the town and markets also remained closed. At Arwal more than five hundred bundh supporters led by SCMs Mahanand Prasad, Ravindra Yadav, Upendra Paswan and Jitendra Yadav sat on dharna on NH-98 connecting Patna and Aurangabad since 6 a.m. GT road and NH-2 were blocked at Gaya and Khijarsarai also.
At Siwan NH-85 connecting Patna with Siwan was blockaded by bundh supporters led by Com. Amarjeet Kushwaha since early morning. Hundreds of bundh supporters led by CPI(ML) leaders Vijendra Mishra and Jugnandan Rai completely jammed the NH-85 since 6 a.m. near Bheldi village in Chhapra connecting it with Muzaffarpur.
Bundh supporters also laid complete blockade of NH-57 at Mabbi (Darbhanga) and Bochahan (Muzaffarpur) connecting Muzaffarpur-Kishanganj, NH-28 at Sakra (Muzaffarpur) and Motihari connecting Barauni-Muzaffarpur, NH-105 at Aaunsi (Darbhanga) connecting Darbhanga-Jaynagar, NH-77 at Khanuachak (Samastipur) connecting Muzaffarpur-Sitamarhi, NH-103 at Rosra (Samastipur) connecting Samastipur-Rosra, NH-31 was blockaded at Begusarai, Kursela, Khagaria, Purnia, NH-28B at Pipra (West Champaran) and NH-80 at Bhagalpur.
Hundreds of bundh supporters also sat on railway tracks at Darbhanga, Madhubani, Samastipur, Ramnagar, Bhagalpur, Jahanabad, Nawada, Biharsharif, Buxar, Raghunathpur, Siwan, Arrah, Masaurhi, Bihta, Fatuha, . Gandhi Setu was blockaded at Hajipur and rail-road bridge at Jhanjharpur. Several superfast and express trains remained immobile for hours due to these protests.
One hundred bundh supporters were arrested at 7:30 a.m. in Daudpur (Siwan), more than 400 were arrested in Nawada, 50 arrested at Mainatand in W.Champaran, more than 500 were arrested in Biharsharif, 200 in Begusarai, two thousand in Siwan, 500 in Mairwan, 500 in Dumraon, 50 in Arrah and more than 3000 bundh supporters were arrested in Capital Patna. Among those arrested were CPI(ML) State Secretary Com. Nand Kishore Prasad, Ram Jatan Sharma – Polit Bureau member, comrades KD Yadav, Rameshwar Prasad, Mina Tiwary, Saroj Chaubey – all CC members, Kamlesh Sharma, Shyam Chandra Chaudhary, Shashi Yadav, Pawan Sharma, Amarnath Yadav and Satyadev Ram – all prominent CPI(ML) leaders in the State.
During the bundh massive rallies were witnessed at all district headquarters in Bihar and ensured the closure of markets and businesses. Bundh was successful also at Shekhpura, Jamui, Munger, Lakhisarai, Khagaria, Madhepura, Araria, Saharsa and Banka.
In Capital Patna, three different contingents of thousand bundh supporters each ensured successful bundh in the city. Members of the All India Students’ Association led by Com. Abhyuday ensured total closure of Patna University and all colleges. More than three thousand people were arrested in Patna at IT crossing, Dak Bungalow crossing, Bailey Road and Patna bypass during the day.
Hundred more were arrested at Phulwari Sharif after burning an effigy of Nitish Kumar, 200 were arrested in Bihta, 150 and 100 were arrested in Punpun and Bikramganj respectively. NH was also blockaded at Naubatpur and Fatuha.
CPI(ML) State Secretary Com. Nand Kishore Prasad said that the agricultural labourers, peasants, student-youth, State employees, shopkeepers, vehicle drivers and all toiling, democratic section and justice loving citizens of Bihar by supporting the bundh massively have slapped hard on the State machinery controlled by feudal, communal, anti-people and regressive forces, and that this bundh has exposed the hollow statistics and false propaganda of Nitish Govt. He also appreciated the support extended by CPI, CPI(M), Forward Block, SUCI, RSP and other Left parties and other dozens of organisations including the RJD and BSP to the bundh call. He also condemned the arrests and lathi-charges on bundh supporters.
Students from JNU, Jamia and DU Protest against the Hike in Metro and Bus Fares
On 23rd November, students belonging to the All India Students' Association (AISA) from Delhi University, Jamia Milia Islamia and JNU protested against the Delhi’s Sheela Dikshit Govt.’s move of hiking the fare of Metro trains, DTC buses, and the indiscriminate hike in fees of Students' Passes in DTC. The protest was held at Vishwa Vidyalaya Metro Station in North Campus. The protesters formed human chain and later burned an effigy of the Delhi Government, at the Chhatra Marg of University, after blocking the road for some time.
DU AISA unit General secretary Sunny said "the protest was to give a message to the Delhi government against its decision of increased bus and metro fare whose consequences has mainly fallen on the students, who commute on a daily basis. So the demand is to withdraw the increased bus and metro fare, issue of concessional rate metro pass for the students and extension of DTC Bus passes to all buses in Delhi".
"It has been a great concern for the student community that the Congress govt. is taking a lot of anti-students moves of which the increased fares of buses and metros are an integral part. At a time when the govt is hell bound to make education a reserved enclave for the rich, the present moves are no surprise. However the students will also respond by fighting back if these autocratic decisions are not done away with immediately and this protest is only a starting point", said AISA General Secretary Ravi Rai.
The gathering also condemned the recent brutal lathi-charge by Delhi Police on students of JNU, while defending some outsiders with high connections, who eve-teased girl students at the campus. The gathering demanded that the guilty police officers involved in the lathi-charge must be suspended immediately, and the harassers be punished.
Health Camp Organised by AIALA & AIPWA in Karnataka
All India Agricultural Labourer Organisation (AIALA) and All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) jointly organised a health camp at Sogahalli in HD Kote taluq, Mysore dist in Karnataka. It was attended by Dr. Manikarnika and Dr. V Lakshminarayana. More than 150 patients were examined and free medicines distributed. The doctors also made speeches before the health camp and emphasized the role of hygiene and balanced nutrition in maintaining a healthy body and mind.
Report from AP
CPI(ML) Liberation, Sathupalli Mandal, Khammam district, Andhra Pradesh, organized a memorial meeting on the death anniversary of Com. Narra Venkanna who passed away on 13/11/2008. Nearly 200 Party and AIALA members participated. A Martyr’s Memorial was inaugurated by Com. N Murthy. Red Flag was hoisted by Com. Bangaru Rao and a meeting was organised by District Leading Team presided by CK Damodar, District Leading Team Secretary of Khammam district.
State Secretary Com. N Murthy called upon the Party activists and members to strengthen the Party at the grass roots level in Khammam. R Veeraswamy, AIALA, B Venkateswara Rao, AICCTU, N. Vijaya, AIPWA, M Sarveswara Rao and other leaders attended and addressed the gathering and meeting.
Agitation in Puducherry
Movement for Protection of Roofless in Pondichery held a protest demonstration on 11th November 2009 demanding relief for the rain affected families of urban poor. The recent incessant rain in Puducherry and Karaikal regions of Puducherry Union territory terribly affected all poor people living in slums and other semi urban areas. The demonstrators demanded from the territorial Congress Government a free supply of 25 kgs of rice and 5 litres of kerosene to all rain affected families in the UT. They also demanded compensation of Rs.2000/- to all families of unorganized workers who lost employment due to continuous heavy rains. Rs 5000/- to each family who lost their dwelling places including households articles. A compensation of Rs two lakhs was demanded for the family members of victims who lost their lives during rains and that of Rs 75000/- to the victims injured during the rains.
The year 2010 is the Centenary year of Sri Aurobindo’s arrival at Puducherry. The Aurobindo Ashram which was developed by Sri Aurobindo grew larger and larger in size in terms of wealth and properties. The movement for protection of roofless on the same day demanded free housing quarters to the workers of Aurobindo ashram and also free schooling and education for the workers’ as well as the local people’s children. They also demanded from the management of Sri Auribindo Ashram free medical services for the general public. The demonstration was addressed by Com Mothilal, GS of the movement and by Com. CS Sagayaraj, President.
Com. P Shankaran, organizer of AIALA in Puducherry State also addressed the demonstrators. Finally a memorandum was submitted to the Chief Minister of Puducherry in this regard. A large number of women and other activists of the movement participated in the demonstration. Workers from AICCTU also took part in the demonstration in large numbers.
Women Workers Hold Protest against Govt.'s Anti-Women Policies
As a part of the All India Central Council of Trade Union’s (AICCTU’s) nationwide call for a Demand Day for women workers, women workers in different parts of the country and different production units held protest demonstration on 23rd November.
DELHI: Women workers from different parts of Delhi marched to Jantar Mantar to press for their specific demands. They held a dharna at Jantar Mantar and sent a memorandum to the Union Labour Minister as well as Delhi CM Mrs. Shiela Dixit. Women present in the Dharna condemned government's policies causing further inequality and hardships for working women and demanded equal opportunities in jobs as well as equal pay for equal work besides other demands.
All India Progressive Women's Association's (AIPWA) National Secretary Com. Kavita Krishnan addressed the protestors where she demanded from the Sheila Dixit Govt. in Delhi and the Union Govt. specific legislations for the women workers. She said that the liberalisation policies have led to more and more exploitation of women workers and they are now being pushed to more hardships.
AICCTU Secretary Santosh Rai spoke of utter violations of labour laws for women workers and said that in Delhi lakhs of domestic workers and other women workers have been facing atrocities and violation of their fundamental constitutional rights for a long time but the state government, headed by a women CM, is not doing anything to improve the working conditions of women.
Letter that was submitted included demands for Rs. 200 in wages for 8 hours of work, central legislation for domestic workers, permanent employment for Anganwadi and Aasha workers, safety of women at workplace, crèche facility at the workplace, BPL cards to all toiling women, and 50 Kg. ration and 10 litre kerosene oil at Rs. 2 per kg. or litre to ensure the food security of all workers.
TAMIL NADU: Demand Day was observed at Pricol in Coimbatore in which over 100 Pricol women workers participated in a pledge taking meeting. They decided to celebrate the 1000th day of their struggle in a big way. They also decided to reach out to 1 lakh people around Pricol and take up a campaign about their struggle. Comrades Mallika, Tamilselvi, Sridevi and Indrani spoke in the meeting.
In Chennai, women workers of Leela Scottish P. Ltd, an export garment company participated. They said only after they joined Trade Union, the attitude of the management toward them changed. They have decided in the hall meeting to take up a campaign for revision of minimum wages for tailoring industry, which is the only industry for which the TN government did not revise the minimum wages. Comrades Bhuvana and Palanivel, State Secretary, AICCTU attended the meeting.
In Nellai, over 60 women workers of Workers' Rights Forum staged a demonstration before the Collector's office demanding work under NREGA and to check malpractices in NREGA. They were led by Com. Thenmozhi, State Vice President, AICCTU. They later submitted a memorandum to the Collector. Com. Jayalakshmi, who was elected as a ward member in a recent by-election, Com. Rave Daniel and Com. Ganesan, State Executive Committee Members, AICCTU, also spoke in the demonstration.
In Kanyakumari, a meeting of Workers' Rights Forum was held in which around 60 unorganised women workers participated.
WEST BENGAL: "Demand DAY'' was observed at Krishna Nagar, Nadia, where 150 women workers assembled before DM office for a sit-in demonstration for 12 hours and continued till 5 p.m. A Memorandum was also submitted to the DM. Com. Amal Tarafdar, President, AICCTU Nadia District committee, Com. Apu Kaviraj, Secretary, AIPWA and Com. Anima Haldar, leader of Bidi workers led the demonstration and delivered speeches. Com. Nitish Roy and Com. Biplab Bagchi sang revolutionary songs.
Demand day was also observed in Howrah Dist. A campaign meeting was held at Howrah Maidan. Com. Mina Pal, Vice-president, AICCTU, WB, Com. Sabita Koley, Secretary, Domestic Workers' Association, Com. Sobha Mallick, unorganised women worker and Com. Debabrata Bhakta, Secretary, AICCTU, Howrah, delivered speeches there.
Demand day was observed at Kaliachak, Malda district. Mainly Bidi workers particiapated here. Com. Ibrahim Sheikh led the demonstration.
ASSAM: 500 women workers blockaded road at Tinsukia in support of their demand.
CHHATISGARH: 500 women workers, mostly sanitary workers, held a militant demonstration in Bhilai in support of their demands.
An update on the Chunar struggle that was carried in earlier issues of ML Update:
Subsequently, a meeting was held between the Mirzapur district administration, representatives of the party and Jan Samasya Nivaran Samiti on 21 November. The delegation was led by the UP State Secretary Sudhakar Yadav. Specific demands placed before the administration were - Repeal of Gangster Act on the 23 people; a check on the pollution being spread by the factory; ensuring that no passage for transit of locals is blocked by the factory; full payment to casual labourers working in the factory, who as of now are being paid Rs. 100/- per day while they are made to sign against a sum of Rs. 132/- by the labour contractor hired by the company.
The officials agreed to initiate a magisterial inquiry into the events that led to the imposition of Gangster Act on the innocent villagers. Also, a date for tripartite talks involving the party and villagers, administration and representatives of JP Associates has been fixed. The Kisan Sabha has decided to lift the dharna till the talks. It has been decided that if there is no fruitful outcome, the movement will be renewed again.
CPI(ML) Candidates for the Jharkhand Assembly Election:
1 Dhanbad – Kiran Hembrom (F)
2 Jharia – Bhajohri Mahto
3 Devghar – Rakhi Devi (F)
4 Podaiyyahaat – Motilal Bhagat
5 Nala – Jagat Mandal
6 Dumka – Rameshwar Soren
7 Shikaripada – Paltan Hansda
8 Jarmundi – Sahdev Prasad Yadav
9 Tamar (ST) – Sukhdev Munda
10 Mandar (ST) – Budhva Oraon
11 Gomia – Baleshwar Gope
12 Gandey – Rajesh Yadav
13 Giridih – Israpheel Ansari
14 Barkattha – Basudev Yadav
15 Barhi – Javed Islam
16 Badkagaon – Qayamuddin Ansari
17 Mandu – Chandranathbhai Patel
18 Koderma – Parmeshwar Mahto
19 Chandankyari (SC) – Janardan Harijan
20 Dhanwar – Rajkumar Yadav
21 Bagodar – Vinod Kumar Singh
22 Jamua (SC) – Satyanarayan Das
23 Manoharpur (ST) –Durga Sundi
24 Chakradharpur (ST) – Bahadur Oraon
25 Bishunpur (ST) – Suresh Bhagat
26 Simdega (ST) – Birjanand Oraon
27 Kolebira (ST) – Shyamsundar Badaik
28 Lohardaga (ST) – Ashamani Oraon (F)
29 Garhwa – Kalicharan Mehta
30 Bhavnathpur – Sogra Begum (F)
31 Panki - Kavita Singh (F)
32 Vishrampur – Anwar Ansari
33 Manika (ST) – Kanhai Singh
34 Chatarpur (SC) – Ramraj Paswan
35 Chatra (SC) – Pramod Ram